Having kids eat eggs and peanuts early in life may reduce their risk of developing allergies to these foods later, a new analysis suggests.
Researchers analyzed information from nearly 150 studies involving more than 200,000 children. These studies looked at exactly when certain foods were introduced to children during their first year of life.
The results showed that kids who were fed eggs when they were 4 to 6 months old were 40 percent less likely to develop an egg allergy than were those who were introduced to eggs later.
In addition, kids who were fed food that contained peanuts (such as peanut butter) when they were 4 to 11 months old were 70 percent less likely to develop a peanut allergy than were those who were introduced to peanuts later.
The findings suggest that “introducing egg and peanut at an early age may prevent the development of egg and peanut allergy, the two most common childhood food allergies,” study co-author Robert Boyle, a pediatric allergy researcher at Imperial College London, said in a statement.
However, Boyle cautioned that parents of children who already have a food allergy — or who have another allergic condition such as eczema — should not introduce eggs or peanuts into their children's diet until they consult with their doctor. He also said that babies and toddlers should not be fed whole nuts because of a choking risk. Instead, they should be given smooth peanut butter.